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Mining giant blames supplier for ‘unsafe’ park brake killing coal worker

Runaway grader
Runaway grader

A multinational resources company criticised a diversified entity’s failure to provide equipment with effective stop devices.

Anglo American recently blamed PPK Mining Equipment for supplying a grader with a faulty park brake at the Moranbah North Coal Mine, 211km southwest of Mackay. The brake allegedly failed, causing the 14.8 tonne vehicle to fatally strike and crush Bradley Hardwick back in 2019. The grader later collided with a drift runner carrying 11 coworkers.

“The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) had sole possession of knowledge regarding the particular design flaws of the grader, and the risks posed by those flaws,” King’s Counsel Saul Holt told the Brisbane Magistrates Court according to News Limited.

“It had spent years developing a control for the hazard … but failed to tell anyone outside of PPK, the OEM, about that in breach of its obligations under the Act. The OEM failed to tell anyone including Anglo Coal and the chief inspector of coal mines.”

Holt, who is advising Anglo, also claimed a nearby loader was “dramatically” more plausible to have caused Hardwick’s death.

Grieving colleagues and family members earlier sued Anglo for a combined $6.74 million in damages over the 47-year-old’s death and multiple injuries to three other colleagues.

Submissions closed on 1 December 2022, and Magistrate Michael Quinn will next decide whether the proponent failed to meet occupational health and safety obligations. Quinn will then answer whether the faulty brake killed Hardwick.

King’s Counsel Joshua Trevino rejected Anglo’s bid to “shift blame”, and reiterated the prosecution’s claim that the employer was responsible for the death and injuries in question.

“Anglo Coal was the risk owner for the machine. Anglo Coal cannot deflect responsibility for its own failings,” he said according to the media outlet.

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